Setting Goals – Why telling others may be a bad idea

“To save yourself much pain: the bigger your plans, the smaller the group of friends should share in them.”

– Theognis

It is no secret that setting goals is a good idea; this blog was born as a result of my own goal.

So let’s say you want to increase your fitness and lose some weight. You decide to complete a marathon by the end of the year. If you are not a runner, a goal of running 26 miles may seem impossible. But break that Herculean task down into smaller goals and you’re on your way. You may aim to walk for 30 minutes 3 times in the first week, then jog 2 kilometers without stopping by the end of week 2. By week 4 you can do 5 kilometers and before you know it, you’re doing a 1ok race. After 6 months a half marathon is just part of your preparation, and by the end of the year you’ll nail the marathon. That’s the plan. Your goals are set.

If you follow popular advice, you will not just create and write down your goals, you will also share them with friends and loved ones. If they know what you plan to do, you’ll have extra pressure to not drop out and you’ll have their support along the way. You are bound to get there. Aren’t you?

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Not necessarily. Research, some recent and some almost a century old, suggests that sharing your goals triggers the same good feeling as working on achieving your goals. That good feeling makes you slack and goals become unfulfilled intentions.

In this TED talk, Derek Sivers explains: